Mine 'struggle' has its own soundtrack

2012-09-10 22:39
Striking miners. (AP)

Striking miners. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Marikana - They are the anthems hard-wired into the soul of every adult black South African: the haunting "struggle songs" that were the soundtrack to the decades-long fight against apartheid.

Now, a new breed of songs is being born of a wave of labour unrest that has swept across the platinum sector, culminating in the deaths of 44 people last month at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

But these latest chants are not directed at an old white-minority government.

Their targets are the African national Congress (ANC)and the management of the mines that account for 7% of Africa's biggest economy.

President Jacob Zuma, who faces an ANC leadership battle in December, is singled out for derision because of his ties to established unions such as the National Union of Mineworkers  (NUM), one target of the wildcat Marikana strikers.

"Zuma's stupidity is holding South Africa to ransom," runs one of the chants, repeated countless times in faultless harmony on Monday as several thousand striking miners marched 15km between Lonmin's shafts, ensuring a shutdown was complete.

There was similar disdain for the bosses of London-headquartered Lonmin, who the miners say are refusing to listen to their demands for a raise in basic pay to R12 500 a month, more than double their current salary.

"The management will agree to our demands, or they will shit themselves," goes another song.

As well as keeping up spirits under a blazing sky, the songs give rhythm to the panga-wielding marchers, allowing them to walk for hours seemingly without pause for breath.

However, the upbeat mood and camaraderie created by the singing obscures a rage that seethes beneath the surface, ready to boil over.

At one moment, a marching miner suddenly lashed out with a bullwhip at a man walking next to him. His victim immediately turned and ran - literally - for his life as a group of 50 panga-wielding men chase.

"We don't know who he is, but we think he had been working," one of the marchers said, as the songs suddenly ceased and switched to a baying for blood.

Read more on:    num  |  anc  |  lonmin  |  jacob zuma  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest  |  mining

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
19 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.